Advanced Micro Devices is at the JavaOne 2014 conference demonstrating Hadoop running on a server powered by an ARM-based chip.
At the conference Sept. 30, AMD officials will show off a server powered by the vendor's Opteron A1100-Series "Seattle" chip—which is based on ARM's Cortex-A57 server platform—running Apache Hadoop, the Java-based open-source platform for big data analysis. The demonstration was run on a server based on a developer platform AMD launched in July.
The demonstration will feature Hadoop running on the Oracle Java Developer Kit (JDK), and will run on multiple nodes leveraging both Fedora and OpenSUSE operating systems.
The event will be an important step in demonstrating the readiness of ARM's 64-bit architecture for data center workloads, according to Margaret Lewis, director of server software planning at AMD.
"We want to show the evolution of the ecosystem for ARM 64," Lewis told eWEEK, adding that AMD has been working hard to grow the standards and software support for the architecture. "It shows the maturity of the hardware and the maturity of the software."
AMD's demonstration comes a day after Hewlett-Packard unveiled two ARM-based servers in its Moonshot family, the first commercially available systems to run systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) based on the ARM architecture. With the ProLiant m400—powered by Applied Micro's 64-bit X-Gene processor—HP gave form to the promise that officials from ARM and its manufacturing partners have been making for several years to bring the low-power architecture found in most smartphones and tablets to the data center.
A key part of the effort is ensuring that there is a healthy and growing ecosystem of software to support the ARMv8-A architecture. Chip makers and OEMs have been working toward that goal, as have organizations like the Linaro Group, which is driving software development for the ARM architecture. Showing Hadoop running on an ARM-based server—and hearing about Oracle's support for the ARM architecture—are key points in demonstrating the health of the ecosystem, AMD's Lewis said.
Oracle officials in 2013 announced that the software giant and ARM would work to optimize Java for 64-bit ARM-based servers.
"Big data is a topic on everybody's mind," she said. "We have a lot of customers interested in this demonstration."
The demonstration not only will highlight the health of the ecosystem, but also the impact ARM-based servers can have on data center economics by showing Hadoop running across clusters of such systems, according to AMD.
The chip maker has been aggressive over the past couple of years in building out its ARM portfolio and road map. AMD officials want to be able to offer businesses whatever chip platform best suits their needs, whether it's the vendor's traditional x86 platform or one based on the ARM architecture, with the 28-nanometer Seattle being the first offering.
AMD plans to become the dominant ARM server chip vendor, and officials see an advantage in not only the company's strong chip-making history, but also its ability to offer both architectures. Starting next year, AMD—as part of its "Project SkyBridge"—will begin rolling out 20nm accelerated processing units (APUs) and SoCs that will be pin-compatible, which means both x86 and ARM-based silicon will be able to run on the same motherboard with few tweaks.
In 2016, AMD will introduce high-performance, low-power "K12" chips based on ARM cores developed in-house by the chip maker. AMD will take out an ARM architectural license to develop the K12 chips.